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to fit individual and group needs than dramatization. The teacher who has learned the use of dramatization in the school room has already gone far in solving many of the difficult problems of school through the play spirit. If more teachers would inject the play spirit into their instruction in this form there would certainly be a wider recognition of the fundamental principle of self-activity than is at present apparent. One reason why instruction and learning are so barren to so many children is because these do not touch their own vital interests or needs.
Why not tell history stories to the children once in a while, and then have them retold by the children, then dramatized? Children delight in these activities and learn much from them, because they put into action the play impulse, and they learn many times as much as under the usual forms of instruction. After the story has been dramatized it has new meaning to the child. He now feels the spirit of what was only a dead language to him before, and mainly a tax on his memory, yet with no incentive to remember, because it seemed neither real nor important to him.
Get some good book on story-telling and learn how to use the play motive in dealing with the imagination. Give it further exercise by recasting the story in terms of the child's own experience, in dramatization. Then watch your school grow. Enter into the play spirit with the children, or else withdraw your depressing influence from their midst, so as not to hamper their activities, and hence their growth, as a result of the silent forces. of suggestion and imitation.
After the dramatization, the meaning of the story or lesson is clearer, and it can be given more definite expression in other and even less concrete, that is more abstract, forms. But to try to lead the child directly to the abstract conception which all meaning involves, is fatal. What would happen if we tried to make the acorn produce a full grown oak in a night? Just what happens to many children under the influence of abstract and uninteresting instruction of some teachers of the old school. The children
see the meaning best in the thing they can best live out in terms of their own experience. This is true of adults as well. Its truth rests on the fundamental law of appreciation, which holds that new meaning can be acquired only as it is related to past experience.
When the child has learned to represent the meaning of a story or lesson to himself through dramatization, it would be well to encourage its representation in concrete objective form by means of construction. For example, after dramatizing the story of Hiawatha, have the children construct objects (Indians, trees, river, canoe, etc.) that represent the total objective setting of the story. The reconstruction of the experience, or the meaning of the story, in this form will greatly add to the clearness of the idea which we are trying to convey-to the enlargement of the child's experience.
Having thus lived over the experience conveyed in the story in the form of dramatic representation and concrete objective construction, we are thus led to a point where another form of the instinctive play interest can be utilized. I refer to drawing as a form of representing experience in an objective way.
Drawing is a form of the play interest and it is instinctive as a means of self-expression and social communication. After the story has been told by the teacher and retold, or after the child has read and told the story, it may be dramatized, and later representel in the three dimensional forms of construction work, probably best represented on the sand-table (of almost indispensable utility in the teaching of young children). Then it would be well after these three steps (story-telling, dramatization and construction) to represent the same idea or experience on flat surface, in two dimensions. This drawing exercise is an expression of the play motive and is a powerful factor in education when used to actually express some real experience, but may readily degenerate into boredom when used to no end within the range of the child's own interest. This is what often happens in the
formal drawing instruction of today. When rules of procedure are followed instead of the child's interests and needs (best detected in this natural play), this is what always happens. Let us guide our instruction more by the natural interests of the child as reflected in his plays and games.
This is another means of recognizing the child's play impulse, best shown in his natural love of self-expression. But repression rather than expression has often been the rule in dealing with children. "Children are to be seen and not heard," is an old doctrine, and would seem to have no place in the modern age of child welfare and conservation, but unfortunately some teachers are old-timers, and so reflect the past more than the present, and, unfortunately, they too often reflect the worst rather than the best of the past.
The socialized recitation is an effort to regain for the child his natural right of self-expression and self-activity, which together with nutrition form the most fundamental laws of growth of body and mind. In the socialized recitation the teacher merely guides the development of the thought. Now children ask most of the questions of one another, and thus both questions and answers grow out of the child's own natural interests.
In contrast with this method of recitation that tries to recog nize the play motive in education, witness the average catechetical, or question and answer recitation, where the teacher asks the question, without any regard to the child's knowledge or interests, and where all but the victim reciting are heedless of what is going on.
7. Games: Their Value.
In this section we have been speaking of particular forms that the play motive might be directed to take and yet preserve its true spirit, and at the same time secure valuable aims of knowledge, attitude and ability. These activities stand half-way between free play on the one hand, and formal games on the other.
Games are particular forms of play that are governed by rule or principle, and all must recognize these rules. At this point lies the value of games in developing the sense of fair play, as a result of the need of governing the actions and conduct of all by some objective standard of conduct. The finest text-book of everyday ethics for children is that of their own plays and games. To develop the sense of fair play in games is to engender a feeling of the need of the regulation of the activities of life in a larger sense. The teacher who is looking for a handbook of ethics for her children to study would do better to read it herself and then go out on the playground and by skillful suggestion make use of the instinct of imitation, to the end that a strong sense of fair play be developed in the children's games.
A strong sense of ethical conduct cannot be developed in children either by formal instruction or by the precepts and examples of their elders. The trouble is that both principle and precept are generally beyond the child's stage of understanding. Their truth and reality of significance can come to him only in terms of his own experience. This is why his free play and game activities are so valuable. He can here see the need for some definite, immediate and reliable regulation of his conduct. Thus games afford great help in the development of the ethical and religious aspects of child life.
8. Play as an Incentive to Work: Motivation of School Work.
We would not hear so much these days about motivation of school work, if we had not taken the motor part of it out-and motor here means the play spirit. It is no wonder that something needs to be done to bring the child into his own. We have suffered untold harm from the faulty religious conceptions of the scholastics and the puritans as to the satanic origin of play and its inevitable tendency to betray the true spirit. We now know better, but we can't recover from our Waterloo in a day. It is indeed gratifying to note the great progress made of late in recognizing the true place of play in education. Fortunately we are shedding the old grindstone theory of formal discipline, which
regarded no work as valuable that was not full of drudgery and uninteresting. Happily, play is coming back to pull the stinger out of work and to restore the child to his proper place in the world, his own world, I mean.
The way to motivate all work that children are to do, is to pull the stinger of drudgery out of it, and through the play motive let the end be accomplished in this natural way. For young children work and play must be kept close together; then, by the natural laws of association, the love for the one will flow over into the other. And thus the two ends will be realized at once. Work is for some end beyond itself, while play is for no end outside of itself. But play can be led to unconsciously realize ends oftentimes much better than is possible through a definite effort to separate the end from the process of obtaining it.
9. Systematic Use of Leisure.
Through well directed play the teacher can train the pupil into the habit of making systematic and profitable use of his leisure. One of the greatest of our social problems is to train our citizens to rightly use their spare time, the hours when not productively employed, or away from regular work.
If children were only trained to spend their leisure hours in wholesome play and recreation, greater power would be theirs when the period of productive work begins. The same is true of the adult. Many of the forms of our play, however, are not worthy to be encouraged. We must develop in children the ability to form judgments of value, so they can distinguish between what forms of leisure, play and amusement are worthy, and what ones to shun. No one can estimate the harm of bad, suggestive picture shows. Nor can one fully realize the great good that comes from the best ones. But what line of distinction shall be drawn? In general, it should be said that if the form of amusement brings about relaxation from work and strain, if it points to greater and better ends to be striven for, or if it is enjoyable for its own sake, without any harmful effects, it should be encouraged. But guid